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UEFA Champions League: Real stands in way of Dortmund fairytale in tonight's final

 Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal during the La Liga.[AFP]

Borussia Dortmund face the acid test after a fairytale run to today’s Champions League final as a star-studded Real Madrid roll into Wembley expecting to be crowned European champions for a 15th time.

No club can come close to the Spanish giants’ success in the competition and they are strong favourites against a Dortmund side that have beaten the odds just to make it to London.

Madrid’s habit of somehow getting over the line when it matters in the Champions League has been exemplified in their run to the final.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men withstood a barrage from defending champions Manchester City to win their quarter-final tie on penalties before another legendary late fightback at the Santiago Bernabeu to beat Bayern Munich in the last four.

The Spanish champions rightly travel to the English capital with confidence as they look to cap a memorable season.

Madrid have lost just twice in 54 games in all competitions, storming to the title in La Liga by 10 points and thrashing Barcelona 4-1 to lift the Spanish Super Cup along the way.

“I came here because I wanted to win, and to expect it,” said Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham, who left Dortmund for the Spanish capital 12 months ago.

“It is a bit greedy almost, but you have to be confident when you’re playing with so many great players.”

Bellingham’s career path shows the scale of the task awaiting Dortmund.

Plucked from English Championship side Birmingham as a teenager, he was moulded and developed by the German giants before being picked off by Madrid for a transfer fee in excess of $109 million.

Without him, Dortmund struggled domestically this season, finishing fifth in the Bundesliga, 27 points adrift of Bayer Leverkusen.

Yet, Edin Terzic’s men have saved their best for the Champions League stage to reach the final for the third time in the club’s history and first since they lost at Wembley to Bayern Munich 11 years ago.

 Niclas Fullkrug of Borussia Dortmund.[AFP]

Dortmund topped the group of death featuring Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle.

PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid were then seen off before a heroic defensive display kept out PSG over two legs in the semi-finals.

“They’ve prepared their season around the run in the Champions League,” added Bellingham.

“They’ve played amazingly, the character and mentality they’ve shown in a lot of games. They’ve had a tough run to the final as well and you have to respect that.”

As impressive as keeping out Real-bound Kylian Mbappe was in the last four, Dortmund realise they must go to another level if Madrid are to lose a European final for the first time since 1983.

“Our goal wasn’t to qualify for the final, our goal is to win the Champions League,” said Dortmund fan turned coach Terzic.

“And if you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat the champions. Now the absolute champion in the history of soccer and especially in this competition is waiting for us. The ultimate boss.”

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